Thomas Buberl, Managing Director of Axa, Paris, November 26, 2018
Thomas Buberl, CEO of Axa, Paris, November 26, 2018 ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

They are not so many in these times agitated to get out of the wood to defend Emmanuel Macron. The bosses who, six months ago, were happy to testify to their enthusiasm for the head of the state, turned their backs or jostles to openly support the one who, under their applause, reformed the labor code by orders.

The German Thomas Buberl, who for more than two years heads the French group Axa, the world number two in insurance, has chosen to fly to the rescue of the president heckled and weakened by the movement of "yellow vests."

"Emmanuel Macron had a very clear program of tax stability and he was loyal, he set it up very well. He has done much more in eighteen months than others in eighteen years, it must be recognized "said Thursday, Jan. 10, the general manager of Axa, before the National Association of Insurance Journalists.

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"Companies need to do more"

Mr. Buberl was one of the great bosses and representatives of national federations invited on December 12 at the Elysee Palace for a "business mobilization meeting". Mr. Macron had just announced his emergency measures to try to extinguish the anger of "yellow vests" and expected the French champions to take their part. "There were several meetings. Companies need to do more, " explained Thursday, the boss of Axa, stating that the payment of an exceptional bonus was part of wage negotiations currently underway.

This German boss, who perfectly masters the French language, was immediately conquered by the head of state. "Cite me another country in Europe with a young president, who has a clear mandate, a strong majority and, therefore, every means to act, there is none", he assured in an interview at World of November 15, 2017. It maintains today its support, in a strongly degraded climate.

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In the meantime, Macron's popularity rating has fallen among business leaders. According to an OpinionWay survey for CCI France, The Tribune and Europe 1, published in December 2018, only 27% of them are satisfied with the action taken by the Head of State, against 36% in September and 54% in July.

Véronique Chocron

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